During the Year of Mercy, Pope has called us to demonstrate Mercy in all areas of our lives. Doors of Mercy have opened across the world from Rome to right here in Cardiff. Kieran O’Brien, as part of a series of talks around Laudato Si’ recently held a talk to discuss the ideas of Mercy and see how we can implement these ideas in our lives. I attended the talk and have written a reflection on The Mystery of Mercy.
Mercy is inspiring but challenging. The concept of Mercy can leave us feeling true love and compassion, but also, at times, bewildered and confused. This paradox can leave many to misunderstand the true meaning of Mercy but in the talk, we spent time unpacking the concept.
We started by looking at Luke 15 and one of the most famous parables, the parable of the Prodigal Son. We used both Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son and Caravaggio’s The Calling of St Matthew paintings to unpack the different meanings behind the scripture readings.
Through the discussion, we discovered that even as adults, we still struggle with the parable of the Prodigal Son as much as we struggle with the concept of Mercy. The concept is much deeper than the legal meaning, and having and receiving Mercy is not a distant concept. It occurs in our everyday lives.
We moved onto to discuss Pope Francis’ big Proclamation in his recent Misericordiae Indiction. His focus was Mercy; he calls us to challenge the status quo by standing with the sinners. The words Mercy appear on Pope Francis’ coat of arms and the symbolism of opening the doors that seem closed are mirrored in the opening of the doors of Mercy across the world.
We discusses how in the media, the language surrounding the refugees is one of fear; they are referred to as other, numbers, problems, and a hot political issue. Pope Francis has called out against the treatment of the poorest; demanding us to ‘open our eyes to see the misery, we are compelled to heed their cry for help.’
During the talk, we were inspired to action. We talked about how we could organise pilgrimages to show solidarity with the refugees and have them finish at one of the five doors of Mercy in our Archdiocese. Pope Francis has issued a clear ask, and we can issue a message of hope and solidarity to build our communities.
We ended on remembering how the doors of Mercy have been opened for every one of us and we have the ability to stand in solidarity with everyone during the Year of Mercy.
Why not take action on refugees in your parish. Download or order the free pilgrimage materials, including short talk and newsletter announcement, and cards to write messages of hope.
By Elouise Hobbs